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December 20, 2014

I can hardly believe it's been nearly two decades of sugar mayhem!

Apparently this year we used 8 kilograms of icing sugar (as measured on Dec 25th - when we unexpectedly ran out just before making hard sauce... Which requires icing sugar... oops! So some of that might be related to Christmas baking, but not much!) We made five batches of dough - we think... One of these years I should write some of this down. Of course part of the problem was that I was not feeling well at all the day before and so our prep was rather more rushed than usual. I was very grateful that Auntie Janice and my Aunt Mary were there to do most of it for me - in fact I texted Janice early on the 19th to say "Need to make Gingerbread. Need to get stuff from store first. Need to move stuff around the house. But all I can do right now is lie in bed and moan." Janice even took Matthew out of my hair when she went shopping to get margarine and tin foil. Apparently I kept adding items - eggs, napkins, milk, paper plates etc. until it became a quite major expedition. Everyone should keep a sister Janice around when they are sick and planning a party...

Our plan if I was still sick the following day was for me to hang out upstairs while we had the party - with nearly 60 people expected and not all of them with known contact info cancelling seemed like a lot of work but luckily sleeping most of the day had me feeling much better.

There were 50 attendees in total, 22 of them kids (and 20 aged 8 or under). We started the party with a one year old, a two year old, a three year old, a four year old and a five year old all playing together after building their creations in the relative calm. (I decided my kids should build a few hours in advance as I doubted I'd have time to supervise otherwise!) Matthew was very happy to put all the candy on the cookie, but he also wanted to take the candy off and eat it immediately so it was challenging to get a picture.

This year was the first year I felt we really could have used two ovens. My neighbour jokingly volunteered hers for next year, that would be awesome if it works out! Maybe we should borrow some toaster ovens too - I hear they can do marvellous things... And I should remind my 2015 self to make a bit more dough in advance...

People built a hobbit hole, a castle, a zoo, a moose, an elf house, Christmas trees, some cars (mine was a VAN, reminds Xander indignantly) and many, many, many houses... The kids are just starting to get more creative with their candy placement and demands for what they want to build - maybe soon we'll get back to the bigger variety of creations but for now it's entertaining to watch them build what they can.


December 17, 2014

We were invited to Elizabeth's school to visit the Christmas village the various classes had put together.

Elizabeth's class was responsible for making a theatre, complete with shapes in the form of "suites" (sequences). Elizabeth's starting to throw quite a number of French words into her speech when she can't think of an appropriate English one. We find this quite adorable.

Anyway, the village was very cute despite the fake reindeer poo everywhere (and I mean EVERYWHERE) but the visit itself was odd because we arrived and the kids arrived and then no one had the slightest idea of what to do. It was obviously the first time the kids had actually seen the whole village and the staff didn't want the kids to play in it because there were a whole pile of educational activities planned for the next day. So we kind of milled around confused until one teacher took pity on us and explained to us what some of the activities were going to be until our timeslot was up. Elizabeth really loved the activities the following day but we strongly suspect that the only reason we were invited was that someone was all "Crumbs - last year we did a whole Christmas concert - what are we going to do this year???" 


December 15, 2014

I love teacher gifts. I hate teacher gifts.

The main reason they are horrid is that we keep leaving the card making until far too late. (STRESS!)

Elizabeth had more than a dozen teachers that she insisted needed a gift this year. That's a lot of cards to decorate and write messages for. We made little boxes out of scrapbooking paper - with help from my good friend Pinterest - and then Elizabeth helped make fudge and candy to go inside.

But all that card making is great writing practice! I'm pretty proud of Elizabeth's cursive - I'm thinking my writing wasn't that legible until I got into high school... My favourite card is the one she wrote to her bus driver "Joyeux Noel! J'aime l'autobus scholaire" (or Merry Christmas! I like taking the school bus) I tried to convince her that she could just write bus, but she was having NONE. OF. IT.  At least she took my advice to get help with her spelling ;)


December 14, 2014

We celebrated Auntie Karen's birthday with Swiss Chalet and a pretty cool jello cake that I have to try out ASAP. Karen explained how a butter bell works, but we still want to see it in action...

Elizabeth and Matthew were thrilled to be able to help decorate Auntie Karen's little tree.

Also notable: the kids have hit a milestone - they went to play downstairs by themselves! There's apparently some pretty cool toys there.


December 13, 2014

Picture with a bear day... A month late (oh dear!)...

The light wasn't good and Matthew had zero interest in posing but we decided they would have to do.

At 22 months Matthew's vocabulary has exploded. He had a fair number of words before, but all of a sudden he's communicating with other people - who are commenting that "Matthew has just learned to talk!" He tends to double many of his words "Up, Up, Down, Down, Round, Round" (Meaning: Pick me up, take me downstairs and let's do laundry!)

Mum Mum, Da Da, Dee Dee (Elizabeth) are also favourites, as is "Nay" - no he's not usually talking about a horse - he means he wants a drink (he uses the same word for nurse).

He insists on having a "nigh" (knife) at suppertime, which we humour unless he starts waving it around or threatening to throw it. It is a sad but true statement that he is more diligent about using his knife and fork correctly than Elizabeth.

Unfortunately, along with the vocabulary increase there was a definite volume increase as well. Quiet is not a concept he has embraced.

Favourite toys include his new pretend power tools from St. Nicholas that make noise just like Daddy's and light up. He spends many hours drilling and sawing.  Zooming trucks around like Elizabeth is also pretty exciting, as is getting pushed in the little toy stroller / pushing big sister in the little toy stroller. We would be remiss if we didn't mention Tickles the Elephant. Elizabeth always carefully rotates the animals that sleep with her, never really settling on one favourite stuffy. Matthew must have Tickles at bedtime, whom he lovingly tucks in beside him and holds up to nurse too. Poor Tickles has taken a lot of abuse but he is fiercely loved.

Night weaning is still not popular but Mommy has no more milk and is very much ready to quit so the "nursing" is down to a few minutes at bedtime (usually) and a few minutes in the morning (if Mommy didn't manage to sneak out of bed quickly enough). His appetite for real food has thankfully picked up dramatically as a result - I can't remember if I mentioned that we realized he was nursing 6-8 hours at night which was part of why I got serious about the night weaning... Sadly he's still waking up a couple of times a night, but mostly for diaper changes which is probably fair.


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